Laws Regulating Food Industry In India

Introduction

India’s food market is growing day by day and has become the 6th largest in the world. The Government of India is endeavoring for the growth and development of the food processing industry. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is putting efforts to encourage investments in the business. It has approved proposals for joint ventures, foreign collaborations, and industrial licenses

Food regulation law aims to protect human life and health and interests of the consumer. The regulation applies to all stages of production, processing, and distribution of food and feed. Constitution of India through The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) mentions the promotion of the welfare of its people (Art.38) it also protects their health and strength from abuse (Art 39(e)). Furthermore, it provides public assistance in case of sickness, disability, or “undeserved want” (Art 41) and ensure just and humane conditions of work; and raise nutrition levels, improve the standard of living, and considers the improvement of public health as its primary duty (Art 47).

Law regulating Food Industry in India

Indian Parliament has passed the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 that overrides all other food-related laws such as

The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954

This act aims to protect the public from poisonous and harmful food and also prevent the sale of substandard food items in the market. Moreover, it also aims to protect the interests of the consumers by eliminating fraudulent practices. Anyone who violates this act will be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months and up to 3 years and with a fine of up to one thousand rupees

The Fruit Products Order, 1955

It was formed under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act 1955, with an intent to manufacture fruit & vegetable products maintaining sanitary and hygienic conditions in the premises and quality standards laid down in the Order. It mandates for all manufacturers of fruit and vegetable products including some non-fruit products like non-fruit vinegar, syrup, and sweetened aerated water to obtain a license under this Order.

The Meat Food Products Order, 1973

The main objective of this is to regulate the production and sale of meat food products through licensing of manufacturers, enforce sanitary and hygienic conditions prescribed for the production of wholesome meat food products, exercise strict quality control at all stages of the production of meat food products, fish products including chilled poultry, etc.

The Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947

Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947 along with Vegetable Oil Products (Standards of Quality) Order, 1975 has been replaced by a single Order called “Vegetable Oil Products (Regulation) Order, 1998. This was done for the proper regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of Vegetable Oil Products. This order has led to a huge reduction in the overlapping of the jurisdiction of multiple authorities and agencies.

The Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order, 1998

This order was promulgated under the Essential commodities act, 1955 in order to make the packing of edible oils at predetermined prices, sold in retail, mandatory with an exception of being exempted by the concerned state government. Its objective was to ensure the availability of safe and quality edible oils.

The Solvent Extracted Oil, De oiled Meal, and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967

This Order is enacted to ensure that the solvent extracted oils do not reach the consumers for consumption before they are refined and conform to the quality standards specified in the Order for the same. In order to eliminate the contamination of oil from the solvent used, Standards for the solvent (hexane), used for extraction of oil from the oil-bearing materials, have also been specified.

The Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992

The objective of the order is to maintain and increase the supply of liquid milk of desired quality in the interest of the general public and also for regulating the production, processing, and distribution of milk and milk products. As per the provisions of this order, any person/dairy plant handling more than 10,000 liters per day of milk or 500 MT of milk solids per annum needs to be registered with the Registering Authority appointed by the Central Government. In every case where the milk or milk product is packed by the holder of a registration certificate in a tin, barrel, carton or any other container, the registration number shall either be exhibited prominently on the side label of such container or be embossed, punched or printed prominently thereon.

Essential Commodity Act, 1955

The objective of this act is to ensure the easy availability of essential commodities to consumers and to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders. This Act empowers the Central Government to i) regulate production, supply, distribution, storage, transport, etc.; and ii) control the price of commodities that have been declared under the Act, as essential are provided for those who commit offenses under the Act. The Act was amended in 1986, empowering recognized Consumer Associations to make a report in writing of any facts constituting an offense under the Act.

Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977

This rule is promulgated to establish fair trade practices with respect to packaged commodities. The rules prescribe that the basic rights of consumers regarding vital information about the nature of the commodity, the name and address of the manufacturer, the net quantity, date of manufacture, and sale price are provided on the label. There are additional mandatory labeling requirements for food items covered under the PFA. The Department of Consumer Affairs in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution is the regulatory authority and enforcement agency

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

FSSAI is established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food-related issues in various Ministries and Departments. FSSAI has been created for laying down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, and import to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

The National Standards Body of India resolves to be the leader in all matters concerning Standardization, Certification, and Quality. It provides the harmonious development of standardization, marking, and quality certification.

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